Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hiking Bald Mountain, Uinta Mountains

If you live in Utah and you are familiar with the beautiful scenic Mirror Lake HWY that heads east of of Kamas Utah, then you may already know about this hike.
I would say it is safe to assume that hiking Bald Mountain is one of the most popular hikes in the Uinta Mountains along this scenic HWY.


They call the Uinta's land of a thousand lakes.  Which if you are driving around may be hard to imagine.  But if you'd like to take in the views and get a glimpse of what they were talking about when they gave it this nickname, then hiking up to Bald Mountain is a great place to see it from!
The peak is easily seen and stands out in many area's of this part of the Uinta Mountains.


The trail head starts at the Bald Mountain Pass, which is at 10,759 feet elevation.  There is a large parking area with a well marked trail start.
If you have any trouble as you come to the trail head divide, you take the larger trail on the right.
the trail is about 2 miles up, so 4 miles round trip.



Pretty much from the minute you start this trail, you will be climbing.  Mostly over rocks.
Although I personally would consider it family friendly.  You will be hiking along some steep edges at times and loose rocks as well as a few places that have 1000+ drop offs.  So if you have children that are hard to control, they may not be the best fit for the hike.  Unless you plan on carrying them.


The trail climbs quickly, and even within the first 1/4th of a mile you will start to see the beautiful surrounding views.  Which on a clear day, can give you a view of all the lakes and the Timpanogos Mountains in the distance.



Quickly you will discover yourself rising up and above the treeline as you climb the switchbacks - hence likely the name for Bald Mountain.


You'll be climbing pretty much the entire time.  However, you will have a short little break a little past the half way point where it flattens up a little before you start the climb on easterly side of the mountain.


You can see the switchback portion here.
From here its steeper but not much further to the top.

The climbing on this next section is the steepest section, this is also the section with the steeper drop offs.  But as you'll notice the views below of Moose lake, Mirror Lake and Hayden peak as well as the others are just beautiful and very much worth it!


You're climbing up the broken rocks and boulders in this section.  To many the trail is pretty easy to see or find.  But if by chance you loose track, just look up for the stacked rocks that mark the trail head and follow them up.


Also, be a kind hiker.  If you see someone or the weather has knocked them over, just take a few seconds and re-stack the rocks.  In case someone else needs the marker.

I give my sister extra super woman props for carrying her younger one
on all the rocky climbs and descents.
Once you get up on the top, you can take a break and enjoy the views.  Feel free to walk out along the mountain to check out the views in all directions.

This is one of the final boulder climbs to the top.
Keep in mind the rocks and boulders up here may move a little as you step onto them.  So watch your footing carefully, especially when you are around the edges.  As you will notice quickly a fall would pretty much be the end.



Once you've made it to the top you'll find yourself at about 11,942 feet in elevation.  Ya, you just climbed 1,182 feet in just a few short miles.  So you've earned the beautiful views that await you!


Although, they could be anywhere.  There is a group of Mountain Goats down below that live and climb around on the cliffs that face Mirror Lake.  I've actually counted up to twenty before.
They can be very difficult to see from up above looking down.  However, not impossible depending on where they were at.


I was actually able to look down from the edge and see a couple climbing their way up.  They always amaze me at how easily they can climb up the steepest ridges and mountains with those hooves and never fall.  They make it look so effortless.
(Note: the easiest way to see them is with Binoculars from Mirror Lake.)  They blend well, but if they are moving around they are even easy to pick out with the naked eye even from below.



Take your time, enjoy the views and then when you are ready enjoy the views and the decent down. As you may have noticed it was easier for me to snap shots on the decent so even though I wrote the post going up, the shots were actually taken as we climbed down.


I have hiked this many times in my life, most of when I was younger.  But I have to give Wonder Woman props out to my sister who piggy back carried an extra 40 pounds of cuteness and little legs that there was just a little to much climb for.  Awesome girl, pretty much carried him the entire time both up and back down.


OTHER TIPS

* This is a great hike for adults and families, who like to climb.
* The trail head has an out-house bathroom.  But no water, you will need to bring your own.
* It's also a great hike to use as a trail run, would be an awesome workout going up!
* There are many hikes in the Uinta areas nearby.
* Fun idea, take a map and when you get to the top pick out all of the peaks and lakes by name.
* Bring a jacket on cooler days, as the temps can get quite cold above, even if it is warm down below.
* Bring binoculars, and try to pick out the mountain goats below you.
* You will need to stop at the ranger station or self pay booth and buy a pass for your vehicle.


Have you hiked Bald Mountain before?  Have you been up to the Uinta Mountains before?  Or have you done higher elevation climbs out west before?  If you have, then you know it's an amazing new world up above 10,000+ feet, isn't it!

16 comments :

  1. Very impressive of your sister to do that climb while carrying a child! Wonder woman indeed :)

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    1. She's in great shape, I will definitely give her that!

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  2. Those lakes are absolutely beautiful. So not what I would expect to see in the middle of the mountains!

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    1. It's so beautiful up there, such gorgeous country to explore!

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  3. Gorgeous views! I really do need to get to Utah for some hiking.

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  4. All these gorgeous pics remind me of our trip to Aspen last summer where we did lots of hiking! Great workouts.

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    1. Aspen is a beautiful place, I bet it was amazing hiking around there!

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  5. Great pictures!

    Speaking of Utah, my buddy and I are planning a trip to Moab next year to do some riding.

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    1. Thanks!
      Moab is awesome, I was just there a couple months back. I used to do a lot of riding out on the slickrock down there on my bike, its awesome you'll have a great time!

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  6. Climbed to 12,000 recently and had a great view, too, in RMNP. Great photos! It's hard to hold myself back and not take pictures the whole time on a hike like that!

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    1. RMNP is beautiful, I love it there! There are some great views and hiking there too!

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  7. Climbed to 12,000 recently and had a great view, too, in RMNP. Great photos! It's hard to hold myself back and not take pictures the whole time on a hike like that!

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  8. Awesome pics!! Looks like a great hike! Something that we would love to do sometime if every in Utah! The boys would love all the rocks! Might wait till they are a little older as both Hubby and I wouldn't want to worry about carrying the younger one. :)

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    1. Well if from what I read that you're moving out West, you'll be a lot closer to the Rocky Mountain Range, and you'll have lots of opportunities to do lots of hikes like this!
      I don't blame ya on that, carry kids hiking is hard, I do it all the time with some of my nieces and nephews it's tiring!

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  9. Wow, those pictures are breathtaking! So impressed that your sister hiked in that terrain with your nephew on her back :)

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